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From Shakespeare to Existentialism

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Being and Time (Sein und Zeit, 1927)


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Franz Kafka (1883 - 1924)
The Savages

Du hast mich letzthin einmal gefragt, warum ich behaupte, ich hätte Furcht vor Dir
Franz Kafka
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Those savages of whom it is recounted that they have no other longing than to die, or rather, they no longer have even that longing, but death has a longing for them, and they abandon themselves to it, or rather, they do not even abandon themselves, but fall into the sand on the shore and never get up again. Those savages I much resemble, and indeed I have fellow clansmen round about, but the confusion in these territories is so great, the tumult is like waves rising and falling by day and by night, and the brothers let themselves be borne upon it. That is what, in this country, is called "giving someone a leg up"; everyone here is always ready with such help. Anyone who might collapse without cause and remain lying on the ground is dreaded as though he were the Devil; it is because of the example, it is because of the stench of truth that would emanate from him. Granted, nothing would happen; one, ten, a whole nation might very well remain lying on the ground and nothing would happen; life in all its might would go on just the same; the attics are still chockablock with flags that were never unfurled; this barrel organ can play only one tune, but it is eternity in person that turns the handle. And yet the fear! How people do always carry their own enemy, however powerless he is, within themselves.

Ce qu'on fait n'est jamais compris mais seulement loué ou blâmé. Nietzsche, Gay Science

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